‘Not on my watch’: Best Buy employee who stopped crook becomes online sensation

Updated: Jan. 9, 2020 at 10:57 AM HST
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AIEA, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Some praised her. Others criticized her. But now, an Oahu woman is an internet sensation after a surveillance camera clip that went viral.

It’s even led to an eye-opening and potentially life-changing offer.

Summer Tapasa was working at Best Buy during the holiday season when she stopped a man who was allegedly trying to steal from the Aiea store.

She said she saw him shoplift a pricey portable speaker from the store a few days earlier, but he got away.

According to her, she spotted him again on Dec. 23 as he dashed toward an exit with another speaker. This time around, she wasn’t about to let him get away.

"My first instinct was to just stop him. He's not going anywhere. He's not about to do this again. I'm not about to let it happen, especially not on my watch," said Tapasa.

In the security video, the 24-year-old asset protection worker is seen blocking the man from leaving with the box.

He eventually crashed through a nearby barrier and another employee tried to help.

The footage showed the man holding onto her shirt as a shopper and other workers intervened.

After a brief scuffle, he left empty-handed and Tapasa followed him outside.

"I could hear my manager in the back of me saying, 'Let him go, Summer. It's okay, let him go. Let him go,'" recalled Tapasa. "They would rather let an item go than us risking our lives, and I totally understand that. I appreciate that."

The Salt Lake woman said she would have been fired for violating the company's policy, but she had already put in her notice to resign because she wanted to focus on her other job.

Best Buy declined to provide details about its shoplifting procedures, but issued this statement:

"Our biggest concern is always keeping our employees and customers safe. The reality is simple: Physically engaging with criminals can be dangerous. None of the products we sell is worth putting the safety of our employees at risk."

Tapasa said the man apologized outside and tried to fist bump her, but she told him to leave and never come back.

"I found out who the guy is, and I mean to reach out to him and bless him. I want to bless him so that he could stop doing what he's doing," she said.

The clip has been viewed millions of times online, sparking positive and negative reactions as well as some job offers.

Tapasa has experience playing several sports, including football and rugby.

She said she is talking to a team from the Women's Football League Association, which plans to debut in 2021.

“Their captain had hit me up on Facebook messenger, told me that she seen the video, and she’s wondering if I’m interested in playing for this football league,” said Tapasa. “I was like - this is crazy!”

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